• June 30, 2022 12:43 pm

Parliamentary Committee to follow K 6 billion idle funds

Mar 24, 2022

“We were expecting that the funds could have been re-injected in the development of the telecommunication sector by planting more transmitters particularly to hard-to-reach areas in the country,” the Executive Director observed.

By Tione Andsen

Members of Media and Communications Committee of Parliament have been challenged to have a keen interest on the whereabout of K 6 billion fund from the Universal Access Fund.

Executive Director for Youth and Society (YAS), Charles Kajoloweka made the remarks Tuesday during briefing to members of the committee on Assessment of the Legal Barriers too Access to Information and Freedom of Expression in Malawi organized by the consortium of YAS, Oxfam Malawi and Development Communication Trust (DCT) with fund from European Union (EU) at Sunbird Capital Hotel in Lilongwe.

He said the Universal Access Fund was established in 2016 where telecommunications companies remit funds to Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) be used for investment purposes.

Kajoloweka noted that since then there are no clear indications that the generated funds have been put to use as the country still has many areas without connectivity.

“We were expecting that the funds could have been re-injected in the development of the telecommunication sector by planting more transmitters particularly to hard-to-reach areas in the country,” the Executive Director observed.

He worried that it looks like there is no transparency and accountability in the management of the funds and urged the members to make follow up on the matter with the Director General of MACRA.

Kajoloweka added that the committee should flex its oversight role and make sure that the delay in appointing information officers was expedited in all public institutions.

“The Law has been in place for over one and half year but the challenges remains that most government departments have not appointed information officers as required the Access to Information (ATI) Law,” he stated.

The Vice Chairperson for Media and Communications Committee of Parliament, Susan Dossi said continues engagement on the issue on ATI was key to the committees.

She said partners should continue engaging them and providing them with necessary information for them to work on for the betterment of the sector.

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